CAT | weight loss
The human digestive tract is home to trillions of bacteria, the majority of which are good bacteria called probiotics that support healthy digestive and immune function.‡ While we know that factors such as stress, aging and poor diet can deplete the number of good bacteria in the gut and upset our internal balance, scientists in Ireland now believe they’ve found something that can benefit our gut bacteria: exercise.
In a recent study, a team of researchers from the University College Cork focused on three specific groups of men, the first of which was made up of 40 professional rugby players. Of the two smaller comparison groups, one consisted of men who were of the same age and build but were less physically active as the rugby players; the other was made up of men who were overweight or obese and rarely exercised. What they found was fascinating.
Not only did the rugby players have greater numbers of good bacteria in their guts, but they had a more diverse bacterial environment overall—which previous studies have linked to optimal digestion and better overall health. Another interesting finding is that the more protein the participants ate, the more diverse their gut bacteria. Not surprisingly, the total daily caloric intake for the rugby players was 22% protein but only 15-16% for the men in the comparison groups.
Dr. Fergus Shanahan, one of the researchers involved in the study, says they aren’t sure whether exercise, diet, or the right combination of both is responsible for the positive effects on gut bacteria seen in the study, but he believes the findings are promising. “The most important aspect of our study is that it draws attention to the possibility that exercise may have a beneficial effect on the microbiota colonizing the human body, and it is associated with a more diverse microbiota,” he said.
One final note: you may not need to play professional rugby to reap the benefits of a more diverse internal environment. Even the moderately active men showed a broader range of microbes than those in the least active group—so get out there and get moving!
Beach weather is calling—now is the time to slim down and shape up for summer. The good news is you don’t need to rely on harmful fad diets or deprive yourself of your favorite foods just to shed those few extra pounds. Here are three simple and healthful ways to slim down and achieve a healthy body weight in time for summer.
- Jumpstart Weight Loss with Cleansing‡: Your body is exposed to harmful toxins every day, and those toxins love to hang out in fat cells—which means the more fat cells you have, the more toxins your body will retain. As you lose weight, those toxins are drawn out and released into the bloodstream where they can impede your weight loss efforts by slowing down metabolism and making it harder to burn fat. ReNew Life offers a full selection of natural herbal cleanses and weight loss support formulas designed to help eliminate toxins and waste, promote the use of stored fat for energy, and increase lean body mass.‡
- Curb Cravings with Fiber‡: We know from Brenda Watson’s The Fiber35 Diet that fiber has unique appetite-suppressing properties; it expands in the stomach, taking up more space, which helps you feel full.‡ It also slows the digestive process to help you stay satisfied longer after eating and triggers the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin, which tells the brain the stomach is full.‡ And just recently, experts at the Imperial College London discovered that the body produces a certain chemical after eating fiber which alters the brain cells that control hunger, prompting us to eat less.‡ Aim for at least 35 grams of fiber daily from non-starchy veggies and low-sugar fruits, along with a natural fiber supplement to help curb appetite.‡
Lose the Excuses and Get Active: A healthy body weight and regular exercise go hand in hand. It’s just that simple. Fortunately, one of the best things about summer is that the warm weather and extra hours of sunlight offer endless possibilities for outdoor activity—which means if going to the gym has gotten a little stale, now is your chance to get out there and get active! Active muscles suck up extra blood sugar, break down fat and increase metabolism, so make it a point to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. A mix of aerobic activity and resistance training is ideal, with some stretching and/or yoga included.